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Timothy Olmsted, St. Paul Teacher Accused Of Discriminating Against Black Students, Sees Case Move To Federal Court
Sep-13-2012 480 0


Heights Community School parents have filed a lawsuit that is now moving to federal courts against the St. Paul Public School District in Minnesota, amid an investigation into allegations that teacher Timothy Olmsted discriminated against black students.

Olmsted resigned after the district placed him on paid leave in the spring after parents complained that he called black students "fat, black and stupid" and told them, "you will never amount to anything" and "you only have one parent.

The teacher also allegedly forced black students to sit in the back of the classroom, or sit with their desks facing the wall.

"He told the whole entire class that it is easier for him to teach rich white folks than poor black people," Tolbert told reporters.

Olmsted resigned in March, but is still being paid through the first week of October, and parents are dissatisfied. He is also not facing disciplinary action due to the resignation.

In the suit, parents claim that the district failed to protect their children from Olmsted, the Star Tribune reports. Latasha Tolbert, mother of 12-year-old Jamia Ware, said she made nearly 100 calls to school officials in the fall regarding Olmsted's classroom behavior, but the no one acted until January.

District representatives, however, tell the Star Tribune that an investigation was launched promptly and all complaints against the teacher were addressed immediately. Olmsted's attorney notes that the teacher "denies any improper conduct and believes that the claims against him are baseless."

But the educator has a record of controversy. The St. Paul School District reported in 2002 that Olmsted gave a sixth grade girl a birthday card with sexual innuendos, and requested that she read it to the class. He was also accused of giving a graphic description of castrating horses and throwing testicles into a field to feed cats.

For the various incidents over the years, disciplinary actions against him have ranged from written reprimands to days of suspension without pay. Students also find his more recent, racial comments strange.

"He would say random things like when I get out of the shower my dog dries me off," student Aylecia Ingram-Jones told reporters in a separate report.

Her father, Miguel Jones, has moved the teen to another school district, and asserts that there should be no question about whether Olmsted should be allowed to keep teaching.

"I wouldn't stand for it," Jones said. "Right is right. Wrong is wrong."

Minnesota does not have statewide regulations regarding disciplinary action for teachers, so process is followed based on district decisions and as outlined in teachers' union contracts.

The allegations in St. Paul are similar to complaints against Kathleen Pyles, a math teacher at North End Middle School in Waterbury, Conn., who was placed on paid leave in June while officials investigate claims that she addressed a black student with a racist remark.

Parents have accused Pyles of inappropriately calling a student "black boy" when she couldn't remember his name. When she first called the boy by the wrong name, he pointed out her mistake. So she responded, "How about black boy? Go sit down, black boy."

Parents are calling for her dismissal.

In another incident in March, a Virginia high school English teacher allegedly asked the only black student in the class to read a poem in a "blacker" manner.

Jordan Shumate, a ninth-grader at George C. Marshall High School in Falls Church, Va., says he was reading aloud Langston Hughes' "Ballad of the Landlord" when teacher Marilyn Bart interrupted him.

"She told me, 'Blacker, Jordan -- c'mon, blacker. I thought you were black,'" Shumate told The Washington Post.

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“Today the world is less brighter. Thank you Max Morgan for all the joy you brought 2 our world. Rest in peace,” tweeted KDFW cameraman Larry Rodriguez, one of Morgan's closest friends.

Morgan was born Terrance Shurn in Dardenelle, Ark., where he grew up. He got into radio there at age 19 and took the name Max “The Most Music” Morgan as a DJ. He transferred to TV in Little Rock and Baltimore, according to KDFW.

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Jessica Arrendale, 33, is considered a hero by her loved ones for her selfless concern for her 6-month-old baby after being shot in the head.

The Smyrna, Ga., mom was under attack by the drunken, abusive father of her child, Jessica's mother Teresa Ionniello told WSB Radio Friday.

The fight started Saturday night after the two returned from dinner and Antoine Davis, 30, became belligerent, Ionniello said. Holding their baby, Jessica tried to defend herself with a baseball bat, but Davis took it from her, according to Inninello.

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Also from TheWrap: Shonda Rhimes to Make Acting Debut on 'The Mindy Project'

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The naked bodies of two teenagers, one of them an exotic dancer, were found along a remote street in Jacksonville, Fla., Thursday.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office confirmed Angelia Ella Mangum, 19, and Tjhisha Monique Ball, 18, both of Tampa, were murdered. Their bodies were found after 1 a.m. on a wooded road just off I-95. A witness said the bodies were hogtied and in a pool of blood, First Coast News reported.

"At first I thought it was one, and then I did a U-turn to see if it was a dead animal," witness Jason Brown told Fox30 Jax. "That's when we saw that it was one laying on top of another that looked like they were tossed from the overpass."

The women were reportedly close friends. Ball's mother, Jerlean Moore, said her daughter began working as a dancer a few years ago, shuttling back and forth between Tampa and Jacksonville, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

A witness said the bodies of two women found in Jacksonville were hogtied and in a pool of blood, First Coast News reported.

"You still worry because of the style of work they do," Moore said. "You still worry because it's someone you love."

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Police say a Savannah, Georgia, police officer killed a handcuffed, armed man Thursday as the man tried to break out of a patrol car, a shooting that stirred up citizens and prompted the mayor to acknowledge that the community has "many questions."

The incident occurred shortly after 11 a.m. in the historic coastal city, Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Chief Julie Tolbert said. Tolbert has asked that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation look into the shooting.

The GBI, based on its preliminary investigation, says officers arrested 29-year-old Charles Smith on outstanding warrants and handcuffed him behind his back.

Smith was put into a police car, where he managed to move his hands to the front of his body, and he kicked out one of the vehicle's windows, authorities said.

"The officers said, as Smith attempted to exit the patrol car, they saw that he had a firearm," the GBI said in its statement. "This encounter resulted in Smith being shot and killed at the scene."

A firearm was later found under Smith's body, the GBI reported.

Dozens of people gathered in a Savannah neighborhood at the shooting scene, which was cordoned off by police tape.

Some of them cried and hugged, a few appeared outwardly angry, and a handful carried signs to voice their views, video from CNN affiliate WTOC shows. At one point, many of them -- including some children -- joined hands in a circle.

"The amount of people in the street" spurred the Chatham Emergency Management Agency to send out automatic calls to warn staff and volunteers about a "potential civil unrest situation," agency spokeswoman Meredith Ley told CNN. She added that such notifications are standard for times like a parade or a marathon when there's a situation with "a large amount of people that could escalate quickly."

Savannah Mayor Edna Branch Jackson said that after talking to "the victim's family" and West Savannah residents, she shares "many of (their) questions" about the incident, concerns she has relayed to police officials.

"When the answers come, we will be open, transparent and forthcoming," vowed Jackson, who said in a statement that she is "distressed" about the shooting. "We will remain in continuous communication with the family. For now, I hope the citizens of Savannah will join me in remaining calm and patient as authorities gather the facts."

Speaking to people congregating in West Savannah, the mayor said: "This will be cleared up. This will be cleared up. We don't need anything to happen. And we are going, we are going to keep the family and the community informed of everything that is going on. Now, does that sound fair?"

Tolbert told those gathered that the investigation is "going to take time." In the meantime, "What we are asking you to do is not jump to conclusions, not make rash decisions, not ... do something that will cause you problems."

The GBI pledged it will "thoroughly investigate this incident to determine exactly what occurred." That includes an autopsy on Smith to be conducted Friday in Savannah.

"When the investigation is completed, the findings will be turned over to the Eastern Judicial District Attorney's Office," the GBI said.

David Jannot, a 10-year veteran of the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department, has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, police said in a statement. The police chief, Tolbert, told reporters that such leave is in line with "proper protocol."

As to Smith, the man Jannot killed, a friend described him as "cool people."

"He was willing to help out," Joe Strobert told WTOC. "He was willing. If you ... needed help, he got you."

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